What Eye Tracking Studies Can Teach Us About Effective Website Design


You bet there’s technology out there that can detect where our eyes go when scanning a website for the first time. It follows our eyes, creating a roadmap that shows what text, images and graphics in a website design our eyes gravitate to and can’t look away from. Big names like Google, Epson and Ogilvy & Mather have harnessed this technology provided by EyeQuant to assess and then effectively create great user friendly web designs.

EyeQuant uses algorithms based on eye tracking studies and research to evaluate websites. Using algorithms derived from the movement of the human eye while looking at computer screens or webpages on mobile devices, the company claims they can then predict where a viewer’s attention will go when they load a website.

Eye tracking allows us to see how users are using websites, where their eyes go and what they are drawn to.

There’s a reason that logos traditionally inhabit the top left hand side of a web design. Users are accustomed to clicking on the top left logo to get back to the “home” page of the website they are on – it’s part of a great user experience.  Recreating the wheel will not serve you in this instance. People come to expect certain behaviors and processes and as such, when you switch this out, you are doing a disservice to the people that are checking out your site.

Not only is the top left logo positioning related to creating a seamless experience for your web visitors, this spot also happens to be where web visitors typically look first. It’s the spot where your branding and your logo is actually seen and has the opportunity to stick in the mind of your web viewing audience.

We read in “F” and “E” eye movement patterns, i.e. scanning from left to right. Which makes sense because we’ve been reading that way since we were children. Granted there are exceptions to the rule like Japanese and some Jewish languages and others, where text is written top to bottom or right to left.

The importance of visual impact is another noteworthy tip to be taken from eye tracking studies. Amongst a bowl full of lemons, the lone green lime will catch your eye. Much of what draws the human eye is also context dependent.

Another company offering eye tracking tools is Crazy Egg. They allow you to see where on your website visitors are getting confused or frustrated. This knowledge can then be used to make changes to the webpage design, so that your users don’t get stuck in a process they don’t understand. You can improve the design of your site, making it easier for your users to navigate.

Teaming up with SingleGrain, CrazyEgg and co. have created an infographic that visually displays findings from eye tracking studies that help inform how people look at website and thus how, website designs can be improved. Here it is for your viewing pleasure:  

101 on Eye Tracking: How Your Eyes Move on a Website Infographic